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I thought I'd post this in both places, main and here.
I'm working out my training schedule for CDA 09, it'll be my 1st IM. I wanted to run a marathon at the end of January. Some people say go do it, others say don't do it. What's your opinion?
If I do run the marathon, from Oct. - Jan. do I mainly focus on marathon training, or try to add the swim/bike into it as well. My plan was to mainly train for marathon, but get a long swim in each week as well as 1-2 bike sessions in each week.
At first I thought the marathon was a good idea, now I'm not sure. Thanks for your thoughts. --Sally
My personal opinion, do the marathon. Getting in that base run and endurance training will pay off. After the race, your long runs will be easy to keep up for 2 hours which is awesome.
Also, if you've never done one it will teach you about pacing, planning out nutrition when what you want may not be available on the course and help build the mental toughness to suffer for several hours.
For me, it is about the mental training more than the physical although that certainly helps. I've done one before each of my IMs.
"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
Last year, I did a marathon in mid-January (Disney) and then IMWI in September. Like Jen mentioned, training for the marathon will give you a great running base to take into your IM training.
So I would go for it if you want to run the marathon. I thought about doing the same thing for IMWI in 2009 but then decided I didn't have it in me to try solely for a marathon this winter. Instead, I am trying to branch out into adventure racing, trail running, and mountain biking. I also have a few (maybe a few to many) half marathons I would like to run.
I'd do it. FWIW, I did MCM last October, then training for a "fast" half marathon in January before hitting training for IMFL. It will get your run base up. You can still bike and swim some too--good recovery.
I was very tempted to try a marathon before my (first) IM, but am glad in retrospect that I did not. (And I never ran a marathon before doing it in the IM.)
The nice thing about Ironman training is that the frequent running - including doing one long run pretty much week in, week out - will really prepare you for the IM marathon. After months of that, I started feeling very 'light on my feet' and durable and 'fast' (without doing any speedwork of any sort). It is the consistency (doing it over and over, every week) that achieves this. (I ran 4-5 times per week, occasionally 6x/week early on over the winter). The problem with inserting a marathon is that each week of taper and recovery is basically a lost week in terms of building up your IM marathon legs. You actually end up setting yourself back a few weeks. You also risk injury (if you are at all injury prone, as I am).
If you need a goal for winter training, what about something shorter? A half marathon or a trail race?
My leg muscles and joints felt really freaking fantastic during my IM marathon. (Well I sandbagged the bike somewhat; but still.) I felt really great. The recipe for that was: Avoid marathon in training + avoid track work + be super careful about avoiding injury in general (stop at any sign of muscle lockup) = fantastic week-to-week training consistency = fantastic IM marathon legs. Now, my stomach - that was another issue.
Let us know what you decide...